Harry J. Krey
Harry J. Krey lived in Brooklyn, New York and was the second oldest of seven children. Even though his first name was Harry, his parents called him “Dickie” which was short for Richard. His parents named him Harry James Krey when he was born but then decided to change his middle name to Richard and call him Dickie. His baptismal record shows the middle name Richard but his birth certificate still had the middle name James and his military records show his middle initial as J. All of his friends and family knew him as Dickie but it appears people in the military referred to him by his birth name.
Prior to enlisting, Dickie was a movie usher at Radio City Music Hall and regularly attended daily Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Dickie enlisted in the Army and attended boot camp at Fort Dix in New Jersey in 1949. He served in the 60th Infantry Regiment as a Field Wireman in the Artillery Branch. He shipped off to fight in the Korean War in 1950 and was Killed In Action (KIA) 2 days after his nineteenth birthday on January 29, 1951 during Operation Thunderbolt south of Seoul in South Korea. His parents were heartbroken over his death and wrote to the Army to get some details on what happened. Dickie’s sergeant, Sgt Forshaw, wrote back to his father and praised him as “the only boy who loved to do what he was told” and explained that he “had talked to Krey just a couple minutes before they got him by my radio.” Sgt Forshaw recounted the ambush that claimed Dickie’s life and wrote that Dickie was a “radio operator… on a small motor patrol [and] the patrol got hit from … each side [and] were pinned down… The last I heard or seen of Harry [Dickie], he had gotten in the ditch and made it to the top of the hill.”
Dickie Krey was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart by Secretary of the Army, Frank Pace, and Dickie’s parents received communications from both President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur mourning the loss of their son. Dickie’s youngest brother moved to Western New York in 1993 and Dickie’s nephew and his wife moved into Clarence in 2007 where they are happily raising their family today.
Military Branch: Army
Rank: Private First Class
Years Enlisted: 1949-1951
Honors: Purple Heart